The mental side of combat is so vast and powerful that it quite literally determines your next move. Dan Millman wrote, “When faced with just one opponent and you oppose yourself… you’re outnumbered.” Powerful words. Your mind can be your ally or your most formidable opponent. Your thoughts can motivate you or they can create the Inertia State of psychophysical paralysis.
Psychological fear leads to doubt and hesitation. Unchecked it can devolve into anxiety and panic. Unsolicited, a “victim’s vocabulary” starts: What if I lose? What if it hurts? What if I fail? Thoughts like these must be eliminated from your vocabulary for you to perform at your peak. Your ‘self talk’ or ‘internal dialogue’ must be positive, assertive and motivating. Your inner coach must empower you to greater heights, to surpass preconceived limitations, to boldly go where…you get the picture. That is what it means to not defeat yourself.
Thou Shall Not Fear, “Fear.”
More dangerous than your opponent is your mind. If it doesn’t support you, you’re ••• beaten before you’ve started. There are really only two types of fear: biological and psychological.
Fear (biological) has been generally described as the “fight or flight” syndrome for most of our modern history. This definition does not serve us once the physical confrontation is under way and is really not pertinent to your success. Though the adrenaline surge created by your survival signals is a component of success, it is the mind that ultimately determines the action you will take.
Psychological fear, on the other hand, is an emotional state. Therefore it can be controlled and used to create action. However, due to the lack of good information on fear management, fear, as we feel it, usually creates emotional inertia: your body’s inability to move. Inertia or panic is created by psychological fear when the mind visualizes failure and pain. Understanding this process is necessary to conquer fear.
In our courses we use three acronyms, to help us remember that psychological fear is only in our mind.
1. False Evidence Appearing Real (External stimuli that distracts us; physical evidence: weapons, multiple opponents, etc.)
2. False Expectations Appearing Real (Internal stimuli that distracts us; how we visualize, images of pain and failure.)
3. Failure Expected Action Required (A trigger to DO SOMETHING!)
Cus D’Amato, a famous boxing coach, said, “The difference between the hero and the coward is what they do with their fear.” The next time you feel it, fight it. Challenge your fear. Attack your fear. Do not fear fear. We all feel it.